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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, November 8, 1903


Nov. 8th

Dear Mildred.

When I got back to Oxford at the beginning of this Term, I found that I had passed that examination in Divinity of which I told you, See letter of July 11, 1903. and which I had thought all summer had baffled me. This is the second time a mistake has been made about me in examinations. How I passed I cannot think, unless it was a paper on the “Ministry of Angels” which makes me blush hotly whenever I think of it. Howbeit, I have now only one more examination for my degree. My subjects are, all History, and in particular—(1) Political and Constitutional History of England to 1836, (2) European History 1555–1715, (3) Political Economy, with Plato’s Republic,Plato (ca. 428–348 BCE) wrote The Republic in ca. 380 BCE; the work concerns the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city and the just man. Mill,James Mill (1773–1836), a Scottish historian, economist, political theorist, and philosopher. Adam Smith,Adam Smith (1723–1790), a Scottish social philosopher and political economist. J. J. Rousseau,Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), a Swiss writer and political philosopher. VoltaireFrançois-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire, a French writer, historian, and philosopher. and others, (4) The Elizabethans, and (5) a period of French or Spanish Literature which I have not settled yet. You see how busy I am to be. But I like it all and now the Divinity is over I have nothing to read that is not a delight.

I wonder what you thought of my last letter, This letter, which is no longer preserved, may have related events that offended Mildred Barnes and resulted in the hiatus in her letter writing to Royall Tyler between Easter and August 18, 1903. See also letter of January 5, 1904. and whether I would write it under like circumstances in 9 months. I spent a delightful two weeks in Paris from Oct. 1st to the 17th, and went several times to the Reading Rooms at the Bibliothèque Nationale.The Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. I spent days wandering about the other side of the river, and found much to give me pleasure. A little church of Saint-Séverin,The church of Saint-Séverin, begun in the eleventh century, is one of the oldest churches on the Left Bank in the Latin Quarter of Paris. with its walls covered with tablets put up by students who had passed their examinations, "un bachelier reconnaissant" "A grateful baccalaureate." and "success d’examen." "Success on the exam." The church is not beautiful, but the tablets filled me with joy. I discarded the Grant Allen, the Baedeker Grant Allen (Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen) (18481899), a Canadian science writer, author, and novelist who traveled frequently and wrote a number of historical guidebooks. In 1827, Karl Baedeker (1801–1859) founded the German publishing firm, Baedeker, that was a pioneer in the business of travel guides. I have never bowed to, and enjoyed everything much more. While I was in Saint-Séverin, which did not appear to me to justify rhapsody, an American woman and her daughter came in and walked around the aisles bursting with admiration. They had no guide books, and I was certain that they had set out to see some famous church, leaving the Grant Allen at home, and had unwittingly reached Saint-Séverin.

A friend of mine wants me to go to Bulgaria with him this winter—(he is the boy whose handwriting you disapproved of). I would like to go, and I could see Noïkow, Peter M. Noïkow (1868–1921), a Bulgarian educator who wrote his 1898 dissertation on Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), the Swiss writer and political philosopher. See Zhecho Atanassov, “Peter Noikov (1868–1921),” Prospects: The Quarterly Review of Comparative Education 24, no. 1–2 (1994): 231–45. but the eternal money comes in and I can’t unless a paper will send me and in that case, alas, I fear I would not enjoy it. As a young correspondent I would have to see what my paper wants, and not what I care for. Perhaps this would be the best possible thing for me. My family are set against it.

I simply can’t trust myself on paper with what has been happening to me. You will very likely know without my telling you. I am making a colossal struggle in not writing about it, not with any desire for sympathy, for I have enjoyed it mentally more than anything that has happened for some time.


Royall Tyler.

Associated People: Cora Barnes; Leland Buxton
Associated Things: Autobiography